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This article is about a the elf of Rivendell. For the the elf who lived before the events of The Lord of the Rings, see Glorfindel of Gondolin.

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Glorfindel by Magali Villanueve
Glorfindel, by Magali Villenueve

Glorfindel

Biographical information

Other names
Titles
High Elf
Date of birth
Before the Third Age
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Unknown; presumably sailed to the Undying Lands
Realms ruled
Spouse
Weapon

Physical description

Race
Culture
Ñoldor (Elves of Rivendell), (Elves of Lindon)
Gender
Male
Height
Tall
Hair color
Golden
Eye color
Blue (film)
Actor
Voice
Character
"He was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and clean, and his voice like music; on his brow set wisdom, and in his hand was strength."
The Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings

Glorfindel, also known as Glorfindel of Rivendell, was an Elf-lord of a house of princes, one of the mighty of the Firstborn.

BiographyEdit

First AgeEdit

GlorfindelandBalrog

Glorfindel battling the Balrog during the Fall of Gondolin.

Originally conceived as a different person from Glorfindel of Gondolin, in later years Tolkien considered naming Glorfindel of Rivendell a reincarnation of the Glorfindel who died during the Fall of Gondolin. His notes indicate he was considering such an explanation, but Tolkien died before deciding whether to incorporate it into his mythology, which is why we have separate entries for the two of them here. (See Glorfindel of Gondolin for more discussion of this.)

Third AgeEdit

Battle of FornostEdit

"In his final stand, the Witch-King sat upon his black horse before us... As we rode forward, he realized that all hope is lost... His terrifying scream of rage sent the chills of winter to our spines as he turned and fled into the shadows... Earnur struck out to chase him down... But I then realized his power... We thought him as a powerful Black Númenórean but he was a Nazgûl... First of the nine and most fell of the servants of the Dark Lord Sauron... I put up my hand and call out for Earnur... Do not pursue him, he will not return to this land... Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."
—Glorfindel, to Earnur, prophesying the end of the Witch King

During the Battle of Fornost, Glorfindel was the major reason the evil Witch-King of Angmar was defeated. After the battle was over, and the Witch-King had fled, it was Glorfindel who predicted that no mortal man would ever destroy the Witch-King. This prediction would come true a thousand years later at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, when Éowyn of Rohan (a woman) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (a Hobbit) destroyed the Witch-King.

War of the RingEdit

"Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider's cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed.... it appeared that white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if though through a thin veil."
The Fellowship of the Ring, Flight to the Ford

A thousand years later, Glorfindel helped Frodo Baggins and his companions reach the House of Elrond and evade the pursuit of the Black Riders after Frodo was stabbed with a Morgul-blade. At that time, he rode the white elf-steed Asfaloth.[1] He had considerable healing skill, though not so great as Elrond. A powerful elf, he sat in a position of honour alongside Elrond and Gandalf at the feast to celebrate the subsequent victory at the Ford of Bruinen. He could also have been a member of the White Council. At the Ford when he had almost succumbed to the Morgul-blade, Frodo saw Glorfindel as he appeared in the Undying Lands.

During the Council of Elrond, Glorfindel suggested that the Ring be sent over the Sea or destroyed. Later he suggests throwing it into the Sea, where it would be hidden.[2] At the secret council called shortly afterwards, Gandalf stated that not even Glorfindel would be able to aid the Nine Walkers by securing safe passage to Mount Doom.

After the WarEdit

After the Ring's destruction, Glorfindel, along with Erestor and the sons of Elrond, witnessed the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen.[3] His ultimate fate is not known, but it is reasonable to assume that he eventually sailed to Valinor with the rest of his kin.

EtymologyEdit

Glorfindel is a Sindarin word that meant "Golden-haired": from glaur ("golden") and fîn or find ("lock of hair"). The Quenyan equivalent of Glorfindel is Laurefindil: laurë ("golden") and findilë ("head of hair").

Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit

In the booksEdit

In the filmsEdit

Portrayal in adaptations Edit

Glorfindel was left out of Ralph Bakshi's version of the Lord of the Rings, with Legolas in place of him when Aragorn was supposed to meet him before the attack at the Ford of Bruinen.

Radio versionsEdit

He was included in the BBC's Lord of the Rings radio serial in 1981 and was voiced by John Webb.

Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Glorfindel's role in guiding Frodo Baggins to Rivendell is filled by Arwen, though he does appear during the prologue when Sauron is defeated. In The Return of the King, Glorfindel is seen walking next to Arwen as she is having her vision of her son Eldarion during the journey to The Grey Havens. In his last appearance, he is seen at the crowning of King Elessar, behind Legolas and in front of Arwen.

Picture-1
Glorfindel played by Jarl Benzon in Return of the King
200403121648 Glorfindel
Glorfindel as seen in Decipher Trading card
Elves leaving Middle-earth
Glorfindel and Arwen in Return of the King

Video gamesEdit

Glorfindel BFMEII

Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II.

In this non-canon computer game, Glorfindel is the first hero the player commands in the good campaign. He is depicted with silver armour and a sword. His powers include the ability to mount his horse "Asfaloth" and the ability to heal and strengthen allied warriors. It should also be noted that Glorfindel has silver hair even though he is actually supposed to have golden hair (and his name means gold-haired).

Glorfindel, with the dwarf leader Gloin, is sent to muster the Dwarves to fight against Sauron. While Glorfindel and Gloin make their travels, however, they also make astounding and important victories against the Goblins, driving them out and clearing the roads to impede Sauron's control over the North.

Mission 1, Rivendell

Elf Glorfindel and Dwarf Gloin

Glorfindel meeting the Dwarf Gloin in the BFME campaign

The mission begins when Glorfindel, along with a few Lorien Warriors, make their way to Rivendell to warn Arwen Undómiel of the approaching Goblins. Along the way, they encounter and slay many Goblins, which is disturbing because Goblins have never been sighted this close to Rivendell before. Once making his way to Elrond, Glorfindel warns him of the approaching Goblins. In response, more warriors are trained in Barracks to repel the assault. After waves of Goblins, a Cave Troll, and a Mountain Giant attack and fail to break the Elven defenses, Arwen arrives with Rivendell Lances and Lorien Archers. Eagles also join the fight. With these new forces, the Elven leaders direct the Elves to destroy the Goblin camp. Under Glorfindel's mighty sword, no Goblins survive and the camp is destroyed. A Wyrm then appears, but Glorfindel repeatedly strikes at it, and the combined efforts of the Elves bring the Wyrm down, leaving victory with the Elves.

Mission 2, High Pass

Elves stands against Angmar forces during The Rise of the Witch-King

Glorfindel gather his forces against their enemies.

To prevent further invasions on Rivendell, Glorfindel and Gloin set out for the High Pass to rally the Dwarves and eliminate the Goblins. After a sturdy base is created, Glorfindel sets out on the High Pass with new Elven Warriors and Gloin. While journeying, they destroy any Goblin sentries and lairs that they find. Towards the end of the High Pass, they find Haldir under ambush from Goblins, and Glorfindel defeats the Goblins to rescue his friend. Together, they make their way to the Goblin base on the other side of the pass. Although a Watcher in the Water appears and attacks, Glorfindel defeats it with the help of his forces. The rest of the Goblins are then routed out, and complete victory goes to the Elves.

Mission 3, Ettenmoors

The Goblins have a new leader, Gorkil and Glorfindel and Gloin decide to lead their forces to attack the Goblin King and slay him, rendering the Goblins demoralized and confused. Upon arriving, Glorfindel learns that an Elven settlement is under attack from Goblins. Outraged, he leads his remaining forces from the High Pass to save the settlement and drive the Goblins away once and for all while Haldir gets reinforcements. Glorfindel and his forces (including Gloin) drive the Goblins away from the settlement, and prepare a base to assist their assault. Once the necessary preparations have been made, the Elven forces (with Haldir's reinforcements) set out to free a dormant Ent Moot and destroy the Goblin King's stronghold, laying waste to an Ettenmoors drum, Goblin settlements, and sentry towers. They soon free the Ent Moot, and call forth the mighty Ent Treebeard to aid them. The assault upon the Goblin King's lair now begins in full swing. Despite heavy resistance from Goblins and their Giant and Troll allies, the fortress is taken and the Goblin King slain.

Soon after, Glorfindel and Gloin free a lone Dwarf prisoner who tells them that the Blue Mountains are under attack from Drogoth the Dragon Lord, and quickly rush to the Blue Mountains to aid their allies.

Mission 4, Blue Mountains

Glorfindel, Elrond and King Earnur unite against the Witch-King of Angmar

Glorfindel, Elrond and Men's King Earnur unite against the Witch-King of Angmar.

Glorfindel and Gloin arrive with a few Elves, but are attacked by Drogoth. They and their Dwarven warriors flee to the inside of cave. They quickly eliminate spiders that are inside the cave, and then build a mighty base in it. After resting and preparing their armies, they march upon the Blue Mountains to slay Drogoth. Many Goblin spider riders, spiders, and Fire Drakes attempt to defeat them, but the army eventually makes it to the throne room, where Drogoth awaits. Upon encountering him, the Mirkwood Archers and Dwarven Axethrowers immediately fire upon him, eventually slaying him.

With Drogoth defeated, the Blue Mountains are free and Sauron's hold is further lessened. However, Glorfindel and Gloin are astonished to learn that the Dwarves refuse to help them. They then make their way to the Grey Havens, hoping for a better reception from the Elves.

Mission 5, the Grey Havens

Glorfindel and Gloin, upon arriving at the Grey Havens, immediately sense that something is wrong. They rush to the city to discover that the Corsairs are attacking the structures in the city. While some Dwarven Axethrowers return to the Blue Mountains to alert the Dwarves, Glorfindel and the Elves destroy the Corsairs. Afterwards, they recreate their armada and prepare to counterattack the Corsair fleet. After the naval blockade is removed, Glorfindel sends some Elves to capture the Corsair shipwrights.

After these shipwrights are captured, the Corsair (and Goblin) armada begins its assault. Glorfindel, Gloin, and the Elves rush to the beach to intercept the assault, with the help of the Elven ships. The Dwarves arrive after the first wave is destroyed, and, after two more waves, the forces of Evil are destroyed. Glorfindel cements the alliance between Dwarf and Elf, and Arwen arrives with news of an invasion into Mirkwood. Glorfindel and Gloin ride on Eagles to defend Thranduil's kingdom.

RumorsEdit

  • There is some controversy about the relationship of Glorfindel of Rivendell to Glorfindel of Gondolin. They were not originally meant to be the same person (an early draft of The Fellowship of the Ring contained a note that "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin"). However, as Tolkien felt that elf names, unlike those of the mortal races, were unique, he decided to find a way to correct his perceived mistake. In his notes, Tolkien indicated his intention to do this by making them the same person, with Glorfindel's spirit having been returned from the Halls of Awaiting by the Valar and re-embodied to be sent to Middle-earth, either in the mid-Second Age or as a companion of the Istari in the Third).
  • The fact that he was "of a house of princes" has led to speculation that Glorfindel is the son of Finarfin or one of his descendants (membership in the House of Finarfin would also explain his hair).

Trivia Edit

Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.
  • In the 1978 film of The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel's part was taken by Legolas when leading the Hobbits and Strider to Rivendell.
  • At one stage Tolkien considered whether Glorfindel was one of the Blue Wizards, but he later decided against this.
  • In July 2007, 3-D entertainment model producer Gentle Giant Studios, Inc., headquartered in Burbank, California, released an exclusive sculpted Glorfindel bust, limited to 500 pieces, for the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. Licensed under New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings franchise. GLORFINDEL BUST - Gentle Giant Studios
  • During the first draft of The Council of Elrond, Glorfindel was among of what was to become the Fellowship of the Ring, along with Durin son of Balin (who later became Gimli son of Gloin) and Trotter (later named Strider or Aragorn).[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter XII: "Flight to the Ford"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter V: "The Steward and the King"
  4. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1988), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Return of the Shadow, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-49863-5

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